Inculcating Curiosity In Classrooms

RBK International Academy | 08th September, 2017 Back to Blog

"The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.
-Anatole France*

Brain research shows that, “When interest in information is piqued, memory for that information enhances. In other words, learning feels good when the material satisfies curiosity and such learning tends to last.” By fostering curiosity, we can stimulate and encourage our students to explore and learn more about the world around them. If we want children to grow into productive and happy innovators, we must ensure they learn to be as curious as Albert was. Therefore building curiosity should be our first course of action towards improving learning in the classroom.

Some of the many benefits of building curiosity in the classroom:

  • It motivates learning and gets students to ask questions and find answers.
  • It increases the quality and quantity of learning.
  • It enhances the creativity of the students.

The measures through which scientific attitudes can be developed among the students include those through which their curiosity gets satisfied, they begin to think in a practical way and get opportunities to get involved in practical works.

Teachers at RBKIA embrace and use curiosity as a part of their teaching process. Interests of students are incorporated in the lessons to build engagement. This integration helps to nurture the student’s curiosity and improve their confidence in their thought process, encouraging them to explore and learn more. Interesting facts and a list of questions are posted on bulletin board and students are encouraged to find the answers to them. Also, students are put into groups and assigned projects that may require them to research something different. Students are trained to ask questions, brainstorm solutions, collaborate with their groups, investigate possibilities, ask clarify questions and critically analyze or research. An energetic buzz of conversation abounds when students are given their assignments. The assignments engages them — tapping into a desire to explore the unknown. Students are challenging themselves daily with what is important to them — from friends to music selections to picking a side on an issue that they are passionate about. Different assessments are used to demonstrate the knowledge they have gained in a unit and also acknowledge the hard work they have been doing.

To ignite the flames of curiosity students are given time to Explore, Think, and Discover There is much that parents can do to support the development of intellectual curiosity. Have dinner conversations. Present your children with real-world problems with no clear solutions as items for discussion around the dining room table. Ask questions and try to probe what questions they have. Familiarize yourself with what your child is studying so you can ask questions.

When children ask questions, answer them with great care following the process below:

  1. Find out what prompted such questions and, to respond them more accurately, ask them to elaborate the questions further such as:
    • Why do you ask?
    • What does it mean to you?
    • What do you know or think about it?
    • What are you worried about?
  2. Make the questions opportunities to chat with them.
  3. Be sensitive to what they think or feel and why; validate their thoughts or emotions.
  4. When you don’t know the answer, say I don’t know. How could we find the answer? Your approach to questions is more important than the answers in terms of developing children’s curiosity.
  5. For younger children, give a quick, honest, objective answer, and then encourage a discussion. For older children, provide an outline of the answer with follow-up questions, and then let them independently go off and discover more questions and answers.
  6. Elicit questions using a discovery approach, instead of lecturing, and teach how to ask open-ended, higher-level questions.
  7. Go to the library or search online, from sources at a little bit higher than their level, to look for further answers together, with visuals.
  8. Teach how to search for and find detailed answers, instead of just accepting easy answers.
  9. Ask questions to make them think; focus on the critical thinking process more than arriving at the right answer; encourage them to develop their own ideas and delve below the surface with questions such as:
  10. How do you feel about this?
  11. Why do you think this happened?
  12. What do you think would happen if …?
  13. Guide them to resources enabling them to find out information on their own and seek out answers for themselves.
  14. Provide them with additional resources and activities they can engage (e.g. reliable and valid websites and books) to assist them in answering further questions.
  15. Let them make their own mistakes and fail when trying something new or experimenting; let them figure out how to correct the mistake.
  16. If they ask for your help, ask questions guiding them toward the solutions instead of telling them how.

    Our students want to be engaged and we can see the amazing things they do when they ask questions.

Reference: The creativity post